JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Cleaning up after the devastation caused by Hurricane Ian continues, but it could take years for some communities to completely rebuild. Thousands of people in Southwest Florida are in desperate need of supplies and a small business owner in Atlantic Beach plans to help.
When you walk in the front door of Main Made Studios in Atlantic Beach a stack of paper towels, sports drinks, Band-Aids and plastic utensils catches your eye... not exactly materials that you'd typically see in a metal shop.
David Main normally spends his day welding, but this week the custom metal design studio owner is adding supply collector to his list of duties.
"We spent thousands of dollars getting bleach, odor band, scrubbers, trash bags and clean up stuff," said Main, who is originally from Naples, Florida and still has lots of family and friends in Southwest, Florida. After Hurricane Ian hit, Main was on a mission.
"We took the backroads all the way down," recalled Main, "part of I-75 was trashed and the day after we got there I-75 collapsed over by Punta Gorda, so it's completely underwater."
This past weekend Main brought a huge truckload of supplies down to help those in need after the Hurricane.
"We worked Friday to Sunday, the whole time we ripped out dry wall, insulation and flooring in 11 houses and 3 businesses," said Main, who isn't done helping.
"We're going to continue to go back," said Main, who is not restricting his list of needed supplies to just building materials, "we're going to bring cleaning supplies, basic need products like clothes, diapers and feminine products, all of those things."
Like the metal objects that he builds, Main knows that recovery efforts in Southwest Florida will be more sturdy with a strong base of support. Support that he knows Northeast Florida is ready to supply.
"if you're already working paycheck to paycheck and you're in a blue collar situation, this is a financial burden and people still need help," said Main, "maybe they need a Home Depot gift card or maybe they just need someone to show up and rip drywall out and put bleach on the walls so their house doesn't fill with mold and need to be torn down. Any way that people can help is a good thing."
Main Made Studios is collecting supplies at their Atlantic Beach studio (155 D, Levy Rd, Atlantic Beach, FL 32233) and also accepts money through their business's online store. David Main plans on making trips back down to Naples every two weeks to continue to help with the rebuilding and recovery effort.
More details about the recovery efforts of Main Made Studios can be found on their instagram: @main_made
If you're interested in other works by Main Made Studios, here is a link to their website: https://www.mainmadestudios.com/portfolio